High School Students Build Prosthetic Leg for Three-Legged Dog - NBC Southern California

High School Students Build Prosthetic Leg for Three-Legged Dog

Izabel, a Chihuahua-terrier mix, is missing one of her front legs

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    High school students in San Juan Capistrano are hoping to change the life of a three-legged pup with a prosthetic leg they're making with a 3D printer.

    Izabel, a Chihuahua-terrier mix, is missing one of her front legs.

    Her owner Bret Ellington recently took Izabel to be fitted for the first prototype of the leg.

    "I was really excited to be working with the school to build Izabel a leg," he said. "At first, I thought college students would be making it and then I go into the first meeting and there's a 14-year-old girl explaining to me how the technology part of it works. It was surprising."

    Students at JSerra Catholic High School are using a 3D printer to design and make an artificial limb for Izabel. They are part of 3D Makerz club headed by sophomore Isabella Sills.

    "We've printed our first prototype, so now we're working on a second prototype that will hopefully lead to a final product," Sills said. "We are definitely incorporating more flexible filaments along with regular plastics to help give Izabel the feeling of a real leg as best as we can. We want to help improve her life."

    The students took about 24 hours to print the first prototype, designed with a Velcro strap to help make the leg snug. They tried the prosthetic leg on Izabel, but it wasn’t the right fit.

    "Whenever I take Izabel for a quick walk, she gets really tired," Ellington said. "A fourth leg could really help improve her stamina."

    Sills said the group is looking to add a harness to see if that will help attach the leg on Izabel.

    The teen is already looking into the future of the club.

    "I’d love to take the club in the direction of continuing to help animals with prosthetics, but also people," Sills said. "Helping out whoever we can would be great."

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